Adventures in Smashdoodles

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 February 2021-

Picture this: It’s Thursday or Friday morning, you’ve been working with a story/text/concept all week. You’ve done all of the included activities. You’re out of ideas, BUT you also don’t want to start something new the last class day of the week. What to do?! Sounds to me like you need a ZERO prep activity that can be done in-person, virtually, or by students asynchronously. Let me tell you about Smashdoodles.

I’ve searched the internet to try and find the source of where I first learned about Smashdoodles, and the closest thing I can find is from the ever amazing Martina Bex in 2014 with her post on Smash books.  Smashdoodles are a similar concept, but I feel they have a little more flexibility! Here are three non-language acquisition reasons that I love Smashdoodles and keep a set of instructions on hand at all times. 1- Zero prep. Smashdoodles require a piece of paper, something to write with, and something you’ve already read. (Or a computer). 2- Smashdoodles can be used with pretty much any text. This means that you can use them at any time and with any grade level. 3- Samshdoodles help me reach and connect with students that don’t super love school or Spanish class. Why? Because drawing and coloring is fun (and very expressive for some students).

I have used Smashdoodles with several types of texts in my classroom. With each type of text (and level of student) I play with my requirements a little. The example above is from a Level 4 students from a book she read for FVR (Free Voluntary Reading). We did a Smashdoodle as the summary of the book (maybe 20 page long book). I also regularly have students in levels 2-4 complete a Smashdoodle about their weekly El Mundo en Tus Manos article of their choice. This is for another post… but I allow students to choose their own articles as they work to fill their “passport book” of Spanish speaking countries throughout the year. Students complete a Smashdoodle for each article using the same set of requirements. My other favorite and regular use of a Smashdoodle is with Novels. A lot of folks like to do them for chapters (and I think that works a lot better in upper levels with longer chapters), but I prefer to have mine do one for the 1st and 2nd half of the book. The first example shown in the post is from a novel half summary page. All of this said- Smashdoodles also work amazingly well for stories that you read or create in class (I like to swap class created stories to mix it up). All students need is something that they have read and you modify the requirements for that Smashdoodle!

What are the requirements or what should the requirements be for a Smashdoodle? I so wish I could remember what I first googled years ago to learn about Smashdoodles to give credit to the person that taught me so much. In short – the requirements can be whatever you want them to be.


  • 5 – 7 new words they learned from the reading (I change the amount based on reading length & new words in the reading) represented by a picture (or you can have them write the English meaning)
  • The title of what they read, or give a title to a summary
  • A picture representing the book/story/article as a whole
  • A 3 – 4 Sentence summary that is taken from the reading (or have upper level students write their own summary). Here, students copy/paste 3 – 4 sentences from what they read to use as a summary. I like to have students draw a picture for each sentence in their summary when we are doing novels or class stories. My kiddos love to draw, so I like to give them a lot to draw.
  • A reflection. When I include a reflection (which I don’t usually) I give students starter phrased in the target language like, “I learned, I was surprised, I loved, I didn’t like, I think… etc.” to set them up for success. I typically only include reflections for my level 3s and 4s.

The beautiful thing about a Smashdoodle is that it requires nothing more than my favorite phrase, “something to write with and something to write on.” Now, clearly many of the examples I posted have color – I’m a color fanatic so I have tons of coloring supplies in my room. Also, I’m at an expeditionary school where coloring supplies are on the supply list. BUT, going digital is a great way to have full color everything! As I stated earlier, my students do a Smashdoodle for each El Mundo en tus Manos article that they read. This is what you see here. For EMETM articles I also have my students include the flag of the country the article was written about and the capital of the country (because who doesn’t like sneaking in extra fun knowledge!). My students create a template that they use all year for these article summaries and turn them in all together.

This digital example shows a great final product! The student has the article title, the flag of the country, the capital, a picture to represent the article, 3 sentences pulled out from the article to use as a summary, and 7 new words represented by pictures. My students have done Smashdoodles so often that this reading + smashdoodle takes us 30-45 minutes. This year, these news article Smashdoodles are my Friday asynchronous assignments weekly.

Smashdoodles are a super easy activity to add to your bag of tricks – and your students will love the opportunity to mix things up and get some coloring in! I find that my students enjoy the creativity of choosing their own layout, but your students might need some guidance! So I’m including a link to some FREE smashdoodle templates (Slides & PDF) that your students can use to get started. For more template options, you can check out this TPT listing that contains more digital & PDF templates for your students to use!

If you and your students take on a Smashdoodle assignment, I’d LOVE to see them! Tag me in your Smashdoodle ventures on Insta with @profezulita or post them on my Facebook page: Profe Zulita & show me how it goes!

Happy Smashdoodling…


Complete Template Pack on TPT

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